Russia boosts China threat : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Thursday, April 13, 2000 Russia boosts China threat

Bennett says deal with Russia bolsters China's N-capability By Lee Davidson Deseret News Washington correspondent

WASHINGTON  Russia has sold China several long-range naval missiles capable of carrying huge nuclear warheads, allowing the Chinese navy now to compete on equal terms with the U.S. Navy, Sen. Bob Bennett disclosed Thursday.

The Utah Republican broke the news in a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations hearing with Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. He asked her if the administration has raised the issue with China and Russia.

"I'm not going to say that we are not concerned with what is going on," Albright replied and added the administration constantly raises concerns of technology transfer with Russia. The disclosure came as Albright was making a pitch to the Senate to approve permanent normal trade relations with China to allow it to join the World Trade Organization.

Bennett made the disclosure saying, "The Russian economy, of course, is suffering. And Russians are anxious to sell whatever they can to whomever they can. I understand that." As part of that, he said he was informed that Russia sold China a "Sovremenny Class" destroyer.

"OK, so they sold a destroyer. But each one of these destroyers carries eight of these missiles," he said pointing to a drawing of SS-N-22 "Sunburn" missiles made by Russia.

"We've recently found out that along with a conventional, high-explosive warhead, the missile has a nuclear capability of 200 megatons  or roughly 15 to 20 times the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima," Bennett said. The missile is also supersonic.

Bennett quoted a small Russian newspaper, Moscow Nezavsimaya, which he said is read by that country's elite, saying that a navy formation with such weapons "is fully capable of fighting as equals with the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier formation."

Bennett said that's because the new missiles could be used to target and possibly destroy U.S. aircraft carriers. Bennett also said news reports by the Washington Times on Thursday indicated that China may be selling nuclear missiles or technology to Libya. "So here we have a chain that starts with Russia, whose economy is in difficulty. They need all the exports they can get, and they're selling this kind of technology and weaponry to the Chinese. And we find the Chinese are selling it to the Libyans," Bennett said. He asked Albright if the United States has raised concerns with Russia and China.

She said, "In all our arms control discussions with Moscow, we raise our concerns about sales, transfer of technology. . . . It is of concern to us." She added, "We take all of these reports seriously." About Libyan trading, she said, "We have raised our concerns with the Chinese, and we are concerned about this  but I am not going to comment on intelligence reports."

Still, Albright said it is important for the United States to continue to work with Russia on arms control agreements  and to continue to push permanent normal trade relations with China as it seeks to join the WTO. She told the committee that without normal trade relations, "the United States will risk losing most of the market access benefits of the World Trade Organization agreement. China will join the WTO anyway. And our competitors in Europe, Asia and elsewhere will reap the benefits from the agreement we negotiated." So, she said, a vote against such a trade relationship "would simply be shooting ourselves in the foot. It would cost America jobs, not protect them."

Albright added that not pursuing improved trade status "would undercut the positive forces that are now at work in China. WTO accession will require China to follow international trading rules and reduce the role of state-owned enterprises.",1249,160007382,00.html?

-- Martin Thompson (, April 14, 2000

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